B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program to Support Indigenous Entrepreneurs with a New Stream of Funding

This blog was prepared with the assistance of Angalee Ghirra, summer law student.

On June 30, 2020 the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia announced a new funding stream under the B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program that will offer eligible Indigenous entrepreneurs up to $8,000 in specialized business planning and coaching services.

The B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program was launched in 2018 as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a $3 billion federal-provincial-territorial investment in the agriculture and agri-food sector. This initiative provides funding streams for Indigenous governments, communities, Tribal Councils, economic development corporations and other Indigenous organizations.

Under stream 1, funding of up to $19,000 is available to Indigenous governments, communities and organizations for feasibility assessments of food and agriculture development options, food security planning and business planning offered through a two-step program, including a new community engagement top-up fund to support community involvement and participation in planning and implementation.

 The newly-announced stream 2 similarly offers a two-step program that aims to support Indigenous entrepreneurs in the British Columbia food and agriculture sector by growing their businesses, stimulating economic activity, increasing local employment and contributing to provincial food production capacity and food security in communities.

Applications for stream 2 funding for the 2020-2021 year are now being accepted on a first-come first-served basis until the funding is fully subscribed. We encourage eligible Indigenous entrepreneurs to apply as soon as possible.

Overview of Stream 2

Recognizing that every entrepreneur will have different needs, stream 2 is divided into two steps. Applicants can choose whether they would like to apply to receive funding under step 1 or step 2, however, they cannot receive funding under both steps simultaneously.

Step 1 supports business plan coaching and development for Indigenous entrepreneurs. It offers up to $3,000 of business development and coaching services from a business consultant pre-approved by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture (a “Qualified Business Consultant”) to develop a business plan and/or enhance an existing business plan that is already in place.

Step 2 supports specialized business planning and management for Indigenous entrepreneurs by providing up to $5,000 of business planning and coaching services from a Qualified Business Consultant. The Qualified Business Consultants support entrepreneurs by undertaking a financial analysis of their business and/or assisting in strengthening applicants’ business management knowledge and skills.

Eligibility Requirements

In order for applicants to be eligible to receive support through the second stream of the program, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Identify as an Indigenous entrepreneur (defined as an independent business owner, including a sole proprietorship, limited company or partnership owed by, or where the majority of shares are held by an individual or family members) with a business that is related to primary food production through agriculture or harvesting and/or food and beverage processing; and
  • Be a resident of British Columbia.

Entrepreneurs applying to step 2 of the program (Specialized Business Planning and Management) have the additional requirement of first completing Step 1 (Business Plan Coaching and Development) or an equivalent business planning process. Whether or not a business has completed an equivalent business planning process is determined on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply:

In order to apply for stream 2 funding, applicants must do the following:

  • Review the program guide to ensure the eligibility requirements are met;
  • Download the Qualified Business Consultant list and identify a consultant to work with to develop the project idea; and
  • Complete the appropriate application form and submit a completed application to AgriBusiness@gov.bc.ca.

The relevant documents are available here.

Further Information

If applicants have any questions or concerns and/or would like to receive further information about a particular project idea, they may contact B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program Staff via email at AgriBusiness@gov.bc.ca or by phone at 1-888-221-7141.

For further information about the B.C. Indigenous Agriculture Development Program and its application process, visit the program website.